Wanderers Sports Club won the 2012 Garden State Cricket League Division 1 title, when they defeated defending champions Montego Bay Cricket Club, in a very close and exciting final, on Sunday August 26, 2012 @ Weequahic Park in Newark. Wanderers Sports Club exacted a measure of revenge, after they were beaten in last year’s final, by the defending champions @ the same venue. With the win, Wanderers secured their third title in the last five years, with victories in 2008 and 2009. On a day tailor made for cricket, Wanderers won the toss and invited Montego to take first strike, on what turned out to be a good cricket wicket. Captain Damion Morgan struck an early blow, when he had Savan Patel caught by wicketkeeper Jason Nelson, from a ball that took the batsman glove and lobbed gently up in the air at short fine leg. The inform Donald Bennett joined Glen Hall at the crease, and both batsmen played sensibly mixing good defence with some aggression. Bennett was given a life when the reliable Domaine Sangster put down a chance at long off when the batsman was on 14. The pair added 66, before Bennett held out to Earle on the long on boundary off the bowling of Trevor Wittick. Immediately following Bennett’s dismissal, Hall was out caught @ mid off by Jeffery Scott off the very next delivery from Wittick, and the score read 73 for three. With two new batsmen at the crease, skipper Damion Morgan sensed the opportunity to wrestle the initiative from the defending champs with some aggressive field placing. Stuart Mills, the league’s leading run getter had joined hard hitting Keith Hibbert at the crease, with the sole purpose of steadying the innings. The pair had added 26 when Hibbert was bowled by a beauty from Chris Vassel, and shortly thereafter captain Sid Mehta was unfortunately run out when a drive from Mills deflected from the bowler Wittick unto the stumps to find him out of his crease. At 105 for 5, the momentum had swung in favor of Wanderers, and the bowlers truly on top. A crucial 66 run partnership between Mills and Kiran Patel, threatened to take back the initiative for the defending champs, but captain Damion Morgan who had brought himself back from the Pavilion end, had other ideas. With the score on 171 for 5 in the 36 over, and the batsmen seeking quick runs, Morgan bowled Mills through the gate for a well played 40, and shortly thereafter Patel who had also played a good hand was out LBW to Chris Vassel. Except for a few lusty blows from former West Indies pacer Jermaine Lawson, the innings folded without any great fight from the lower order. The scoreboard read 199 all out in 39.5 overs, with captain Damion Morgan finishing with 5 for 37, and Vassel and Wittick 2 wickets each.
Needing 200 for victory, and their third lien on the coveted trophy, Wanderers got off to a very slow start, and lost their first wicket with the score on 12, when Earle was run out due some lethargic running between the wickets. Ahson Bukhari joined the inform Jeffery Scott, and the two batted cautiously with the run rate increasing all the time as the Montego Bay bowlers piled on the pressure. Savan Patel and Jermaine Lawson started very well, and after 15 overs the score read 38 for 1, and even though Wanderers had wickets in hand, the scoring rate was way behind what was required. After the water break, both batsmen showed more aggressive intent, with Scott being the more aggressive. They had pushed the score to 72 in the 21st over, when Scott was out caught on the long off boundary by Bennett, going for the maximum. Trevor Wittick was promoted up the order to push the scoring rate along, and did a good job of it with a quick fire 23 in 21 balls, including a magnificent strike for six over extra cover, a joy to behold.
Bukhari in the meantime was picking up ones and twos to keep the scoreboard ticking, and was unfortunately run out for a well played 39. The aggressive Domaine Sangster who had replaced Bukhari at the crease was then joined by Jason Nelson after the fall of Wittick’s wicket. Sangster immediately signalled his intentions with consecutives sixes off Kiran Patel to reduce the required run rate to 6.8. He had launched Lawson over cover for six off the front foot, and had gotten to 30 of only 18 balls when he was given out LBW. When he departed at 153 for five, the game was nicely poised with Wanderers requiring 47 runs from 7 overs, and Montego Bay requiring 5 wickets. Vassel joined Nelson, and the two former high school team mates from Vere Technical continued to carry the score along. With the score on 172, captain Sid Mehta spilled a very simple chance off Nelson, which proved to be the turning point in the game. With the score on 193 and 7 needed for victory in the 37 over, both Nelson and Vassel were without any addition to the score, and yet another twist to game. Captain Damion Morgan who had a good game with the ball and his overall captaincy, promoted himself in the batting order, and with young U19 prospect Rishi Patel who has shown maturity beyond his years, made the required three runs from the last over, to cap a memorable victory in a very exciting final.